A Travellerspoint blog

Amsterdam, the Venice of the North

Water, water everywhere

70 °F
View Russ and Beth float thru Europe on Weimerrv's travel map.

Amsterdam, like Venice is below sea level and the structures are built on wooden piles. Interestingly, wood does not rot if its not exposed to air, so some of the piling are centuries old. Our tour today took us through a couple of neighborhoods, a description of the canals and how they have changed and a revealing description of “the thrifty Dutch”. Most houses are very narrow but tall and deep. The reason for this is that you paid taxes based on the width of your house…talk about tax policy influencing behavior! So we saw row after row of narrow homes connected together. Some you could see where the quality of the piling was not up to snuff. Those homes tended to sag to the left or right. In the Jordaan neighborhood many of the transverse canals were not perpendicular but set at a 60 degree angle so many of the homes looked like the Flatiron building in NY. Tough to find furniture to fit that angle.

We walked through the 9 streets, the main shopping district, to the central market and on to the Royal Palace and New Church. It seemed like a long walk, mainly because you have to dodge so many bikes.

it is said that Amsterdam has 750,000 people and 1.5 million bikes, I think that is true. When asked how deep the canals were our guide replied, 3 meters: 1 meter of mud, 1 meter of bicycles and 1 meter of water. The water was very clean; it just looked dirty due to the muddy bottom. Many, many boats are on the canals and we saw several for hire that provided a full bar for your one hour tour. You definitely had to keep your wits about you when walking, dogs, bikes and cars….oh my!

Posted by Weimerrv 16:57 Archived in Netherlands Tagged amsterdam

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.